The Church’s Response to Same Sex Marraige

Came across this article that echo’s what I have been saying about the church’s response to same sex marriages for awhile. Canadian Cary Nieuwhof’s five points are spot on. In his blog post he cautiously offers advice to his American counterparts on how the church should respond to same sex marriage, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling. (Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 10 years). See his blog post here: “His Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian.”

His second point, “It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values,” is especially poignant for Christians to consider. I have been saying the same thing since the Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Disney in 1997. Then I said it was unrealistic to expect “Mickey” to hold Christian values and practices since “he” was not a believer.

I wonder if “we” are upset over the loss of being the nation’s “conscience.” No longer are Christians able to insist that people act sort of “Christian” under the force of law. Now it seems that people will only have an opportunity to act Christian if they are truly saved. I get the sense from reading the NT that the early believers had to live and speak from a truly minority position as well. They did it with love, not comprising the truth and within that position the church flourished. Maybe modern Christians need to take a page from their “playbook.”

The Pastor and Theologian in One Person

While in not so many words, Douglas Webster offers an advertisement for Baptist Bible Seminary’s PhD program in his recent review article of a new book: The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson. In his review, “Calling All Augustines” Christianity Today (July/August 2015 see article here) he notes that the authors call for a return of the pastor theologian. They rightly see the need for the academic and pastor to be combined in one man and he in the local pastorate. In our PhD program (see here) we are designed to do just that. All of our professors have extensive pastoral or missionary experience, are currently involved in their local church and all possess terminal academic degrees within their fields from DTS, TEDS and BBS. A number of our graduates and current PhD students are fulfilling this book’s vision. I am thinking of Dave in Canada; John in California; Jay in Delaware and Mike in New Jersey just to name a few. These men are pursing this degree to simply be a better pastor for their flock. These men are not “passive conveyors of insights from theologians” but are men who combine academic rigor at the highest level with a pastor’s heart. Webster concludes his article by recognizing the need for more men such as these. I agree completely. Local churches should be looking for such men as these and supporting their pastor who wants to pursue such a course.

DL Moody and Scranton

A few months ago I finished reading a biography of D. L. Moody. It was published in 1900 by his son, William R. Moody. Besides enjoying reliving the life of a great evangelist, what made the book fascinating was that between its pages were newspaper clippings. One envelope contained what looks to be an original obituary from December 22, 1899 the day of Moody’s death with the headline: “Dwight L. Moody is Dead: Great Evangelist Expires at Northfield, Mass.” Other articles were of his Northfield Conference, pictures of the evangelist and his work.

There were a number of quotable anecdotes as well:

One day a man arose who said that he had been five years on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mr. Moody cast a quick glance upon the speaker and flashed into his face a sharp question:

“How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?”

“Well, I don’t know,” was the astonished reply.

“Have you saved any?” persisted Mr. Moody.

“I don’t know that I have,” answered the man with a depressed air.

“Well,” said Mr. Moody, “we don’t need that kind of mountain top experience. When a man gets up so high that he cannot reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong” (367).

“’Some ministers think it is undignified to advertise their services,’ he said on one occasion. “It is a good deal more undignified to preach to empty pews, I think” (426).

An interesting area historical fact: Moody always had a keen interest in the YMCA and promoted it vigorously. While conducting meetings in various cities of eastern PA, Moody recognized the need for a YMCA building in Scranton to reach the young men of the city with the gospel. He took it upon himself at a convention in Scranton to suggest raising $75,000.00 (in 1885 dollars)! He secured $60,000.00 in less than four days and in less than six weeks had raised the entire amount (478-81).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Huffington Post and the Song of Songs

Someone has said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I guess I am having mine. I was mentioned in an article at The Huffington Post (here). I am preaching on the Song of Songs for one of our Project Jerusalem Church plants, Restored Baptist Church in Wilkes-Barre PA this Sunday. Also, check out the local news story (here) and an editorial about Restored billboard (here).

While I understand the editorial, it saddens me that a Christian would criticize another believer in the press (cf. Matt 18).

The Huffington Post and the Song of Songs

Someone has said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I guess I am having mine. I was mentioned in an article at The Huffington Post (here). I am preaching on the Song of Songs for one of our Project Jerusalem Church plants, Restored Baptist Church in Wilkes-Barre PA this Sunday. Also, check out the local news story (here) and an editorial about Restored billboard (here).

While I understand the editorial, it saddens me that a Christian would criticize another believer in the press (cf. Matt 18).

Conference on the Song of Songs

For those interested in the Song of Songs Harvard Divinity School hosted a panel discussion (April 15, 2013) and featured a conversation between four scholars on The Song of Songs:Translation, Reception, Reconfiguration. The panel included Cheryl Exum of the University of Sheffield, Michael Fishbane of University of Chicago Divinity School, Paul Griffiths of Duke University, and Stephanie Paulsell of HDS. Exum was the most profitable and held to the biblical text. Fishbane shared from a Jewish perspective; Griffiths from a Roman Catholic one from the Latin Vulgate and Paulsell from a Protestant point of view.  All (except Exum) suggested multiple readings (including allegory) as legitimate reading strategies for this book. For those interested in the Song the video is worth the viewing time. The video runs an hour and forty-two minutes. Each was allotted approximately 20 minutes. A Q&A with the audience followed.